The effects of a weakly acidic polysaccharide fraction, GL-4, from the leaves of Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer on various experimental gastric ulcer models in mice and rats have been studied. Oral administration of GL-4 at doses of 50 to 200 mg/kg inhibited the formation of the gastric lesions induced by necrotizing agents such as HCl/ethanol and ethanol in a dose-dependent manner. This protective effect was observed not only upon oral but also upon subcutaneous administration of GL-4 (50-100 mg/kg). GL-4 also inhibited the formation of gastric ulcers which were induced by water immersion stress, indomethacin, or pylorus-ligation. The contents of prostaglandin E2 in the gastric juice from rats were not influenced by oral administration of GL-4. The protective action of GL-4 against HCl/ethanol-induced gastric lesions was not abolished by pretreatment with indomethacin. When GL-4 (100 mg/kg, p.o.) was administered into pylorus-ligated rats, both gastric acidity and pepsin activity in the gastric juice decreased significantly.